FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Belarus 2 France 4

A Franck Ribery double helped France record their first win in six games, overcoming Belarus 4-2 on Wednesday.

Ribery hit equalisers in either half after Egor Filipenko and Timofei Kalachev had each edged the home side ahead. 

Samir Nasri and Paul Pogba then added the extras to guarantee France at least a place in the FIFA World Cup qualifying play-offs and move them level on points with leaders Spain, having played a game more than the world champions.

Didier Deschamps made four changes from France's 0-0 draw with Georgia, as Karim Benzema, goalless for his country since June 2012, was dropped, with Olivier Giroud starting in his place.

Deschamps was also able to name Ribery in his starting line-up despite injury fears over the weekend.

Belarus had the first chance of the match, courtesy of Sergey Balanovich after eight minutes, but he could only drag his effort wide of Hugo Lloris' far post.

France had not scored or won in their last five games going into the clash in Gomel and they struggled to create chances of note in the first half, as the hosts enjoyed the better of the possession.

The home side were rewarded for their play after 32 minutes when Filipenko headed home thanks to a Lloris error.

The BATE Borisov defender headed down from a corner with the Tottenham goalkeeper failing to keep out the effort.

While France looked to hit back before half-time, the hosts stood firm to lead at the break.

Two minutes into the second half, France were level after Giroud played in Ribery, who was then brought down by Belarus' goalkeeper Sergei Veremko.

Ribery sent Veremko the wrong way, coolly placing the ball to his left to score France's first goal since March and bring the visitors level.

France may have improved in the minutes after but Belarus were quickly ahead again, with Lloris at fault once more.

Kalachev struck a fairly routine effort from just outside the area after 57 minutes which beat the Frenchman at his near post.

Ribery gained two assists and a goal in the reverse fixture and, seven minutes later, he brought France level again.

Europe's recently-crowned best player latched onto a cross from Mathieu Valbuena from the right to tap home at the far post.

France went ahead for the first time in the match after 70 minutes through substitute Nasri.

The Manchester City midfielder drove a right-footed effort through a crowd of Belarusian defenders to beat Vermenko and edge his side ahead.

Two minutes later, France were home and hosed when Pogba capitalised on a loose ball in the box to poke home his first international goal.


SHARES
comments